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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Letters to Emmy : Twelve Months : One Year

November 12 to December 12, 2014
Dear, dear Emmeline:

Well, no matter how much I tried to stop it, time kept marching on and you turned one. I'm in serious mourning that you, who is most likely my last baby, isn't a baby. I have no more babies. And I'm not going to lie, it's pretty heartbreaking.

But toddler Emmeline is so hilarious that you're making up for it and then some. You make me smile all day long (ok, the smile breaks when you decide that the only acceptable place for you is on my hip and that doesn't quite work because I'm trying to cook dinner and it's difficult to do so with half your body occupied by a 22-pound ball of grabbing hands). But you're so, so, so funny. Early in the morning, when it's just me and you lounging in the dark, you pop up with the biggest, cheesiest smile. Your smile is just everything. Scrunched up, wrinkled nose, all your teeth showing, crescent-moon eyes, and suddenly the world is perfect.


You are walking everywhere. I haven't seen you crawl in weeks. You're starting to pick up some speed and test out running. Not very successfully, but you're trying! And not only are you walking everywhere, but you ONLY WANT TO WALK GODDAMN IT PUT ME DOWN WOMAN. If I'm holding you and you want to walk, you turn into a limp, squirmy noodle (I realize that you can't be limp and squirmy at the same time yet you manage) until you have forced your way from my arms. And you don't want to necessarily go where we are going. You really just want to explore on your own. I'm not sure what you're trying to see, but by golly, you're determined to get there.

Your favorite toys at the moment are: I don't know. You're into everything. Anything your sister is playing with, for sure. The race car track you got for your birthday. The baby doll your great-grandma gave you. The musical activity center. Anything with a thousand tiny pieces you can alternately put in your mouth and sprinkle generously around the house. Wipes containers. Wipes themselves. Trash. (The trash can permanently lives on the kitchen counter at the moment, because as often as you are taking trash OUT of the can, you're putting actual not-trash INTO the trash can. I mean, thanks for cleaning up, but we do actually need that puzzle piece). Puzzles - which you can't do yet, but you totally think you can. OH. And how can I forget the freaking golf club?!? Dad got Carys a golf club last year and you carry that darn thing around everywhere and throw a huge fit when we take it out of your hands. It's as tall as you are (even though it's still kid-sized) and fairly heavy (it's metal) but you insist on carrying it all around the house. I'd be okay with you being the next Tigress Woods minus the whole infidelity scandal. You love babbling into a microphone and listening to your voice.

You're tall and starting to average out for weight, just like your big sister did when she started walking. You're 22 pounds (80th percentile) and 31 inches tall (90th percentile) with a giant noggin (18.5 inches - 98th percentile!). Your hair is starting to curl at the tips as it gets longer and I can't wait to see what it does as it grows. Your eyes are a little darker, but still blue. For now! Your dimples are amazing. You have eight teeth (the eighth popped out right before your birthday).

 You are still mostly just babbling - I don't know that you've said any words specifically about an item or person, but sometimes I still think you're saying "book" and "mama." You recently started saying "duck!" all the time but you have no idea what that means - it must just be fun sounds to say.

We actually found out at your one-year appointment that one of your ears is filled with fluid and you don't appear to be hearing out of it at all. (Sad trombone) Luckily, it should be easily treatable with tubes - but it will be at least a month before that happens. In the meantime, we're trying to focus on talking into your right ear and talking more loudly. The doctor believes it's linked to late babbling and not talking (not that you were actually LATE - just on the later side of normal), so I wouldn't be surprised to see a huge language explosion once that is cleared up. Plus, your sister does all the talking for you (does she ever shut up?!?!) so really, you're probably just biding your time until you have something really important to say.

(There's that smile again. Man alive, the smile is everything.)

You aren't a big eater. But when you do want to eat, you want to eat exactly what we're eating, and exactly how we're eating it - for instance, I gave you sauce-less noodles the other day, but you wanted noodles WITH sauce, and on a fork, thank you very much. What are you, some kind of BABY? I mean, you are, because you can't use a fork (though you're trying hard). But you ended up eating pretty much all my noodles. For someone who can't talk, you can sure get your point across well.

You sign "milk" and are starting to sign "all done." We're still working on some other signs, but I'm not as diligent about them as I was with your big sister. Second child syndrome. I'm so sorry. I don't have three hours a day to drill you with flashcards. (Ok, I didn't do that with her either, but I definitely had more time to focus!) Although you're probably thinking, "Um, mom, hello, read what you wrote about my hearing up there? Signs might be a good thing??" 

You still nurse throughout the day, and we're starting to drop bottles in favor of sippy cups. You can drink from a straw, which totally shocked me, because I had no idea you could until you came and took a drink of my lemonade when I wasn't paying attention. 

You've started dancing - turning on one of your musical toys and waving your arms and bopping to the beat (ok, not to the beat - you appear to have picked up my lack of rhythm). You also have started to purposefully make jokes - waggling your head like crazy and then looking at me and then laughing uproariously because seriously, mom, WHO DOES THAT? Did you see that crazy head waggle? You also love starting to give me something and then quickly pulling it away...and, of course, laughing your big cloth-diapered booty off at yourself. And putting your finger in my nose or mouth or eyeball and then, again, laughing at yourself for being so crazy and probably (in your mind) the first toddler to ever think of putting a finger THERE.

You love reading books - you make a beeline for them. You love tearing them up, but you love reading them, too. You pick up a book, then back yourself up until you're sitting in my lap and make me read it - sometimes over and over and over. You love flipping back to earlier pages and starting the book over again at that point. You use your little pointer finger to point out everything on the page (and in life - that little finger is always pointing at something!).

Your newest thing is squeezing into tiny little nooks and crannies. There's a space at my mom and dad's house between the TV console and the bookshelf that is exactly one Emmeline-width wide and you squeeze yourself into it and then just stand there happily. When we were looking at a museum the other day, you found a small, dark square space and sat down in it and then just wanted to hang out there for a while. You love sitting in boxes that barely contain you. Are you a cat?

(And yes, sigh, you're still not sleeping through the night but it is SO MUCH BETTER thanks to your dad going in and giving you your paci back - you're down to 1-2 wakeups at night KNOCK ON SOME MOTHER FLIPPING WOOD and it's just a relief to not be up 8 times a night anymore! You go to bed around 8:30, wake up around 7:30, and take two usually hour-long naps a day around 10 and 3.)

You love to "brush" your hair and "talk" on the phone and "type" on the computer and really, you just so desperately want to be doing what we are doing. It's so, so adorable and so, so endearing but SLOW YOUR ROLL KID and just let me enjoy you being a baby for a little bit longer, okay? This year has gone way too fast, and I've already forgotten what it felt like to hold tiny, 9 pound Emmeline close to my chest and breathe in her newborn scent. I don't remember it. And that kind of totally makes me want to cry. I am just completely indignant that they haven't invented a way to bottle that shit up.

Man, Emmeline, I just love you. We all do. You're such an integral part of our family. I already can't wait to get home and scoop you up and love on you and blow bubbles onto your neck and listen to my favorite toddler giggles.


P.S. I almost forgot the popping that you started doing with your mouth - filling your cheeks with air and making popping noises with your lips and it's just so darn cute. Did I mention how much I love you??

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